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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Yoga and sharks

I'm not psychic. I would never claim to be. The following is just a personal experience I had. It did not occur under objective, controlled, laboratory conditions and, therefore, it does not 'prove' anything.

But it does involve yoga and sharks. I’ll get to the sharks, but some necessary background first...

Twenty years ago, when I was 19, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). I mostly manage it by eating right (vegetarian and mostly whole, raw foods), trying to limit stress (yeah, right), and taking some basic vitamin supplements.

Though I recently promised the universe I would stop saying I 'have' MS --- and I really feel like I don't; I haven't had a 'new' symptom in ages --- sometimes the old scars act up.  That was the case last summer.  I had a really rough time and even had to walk using canes for awhile. I could almost feel the inflammation in my head. In situations like that, I turn to additional treatment options like energy healing. At that time, I also started practicing healing yoga as taught by the Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation (KHYF) in India.

KHYF yoga is unlike any yoga I'd ever seen. My yoga therapist, Anita Claney, goes to India for six weeks every year to continue her training at a KHYF clinic. (And that's why there aren't many KHYF therapists in the US: that flight to India is a bear, I hear.) KHYF yoga is based on the premise that the systems of the mind, body, spirit (or energetic system), personality, and emotions are all linked and any and all can be positively affected by the practice. KHYF students use the yoga to manage everything from ovarian cysts to diabetes. Anita explains it better that I can.

Anita met with me for 90 minutes at our first appointment and we talked about almost every aspect of my existence: eating and sleeping habits, childhood trauma, current stressors, and some personal physiological things I'm pretty sure you don't want to hear about. Then she designed a practice specifically for me, taught it to me, and drew it out with cool little stick figures. I go back every six weeks or so and Anita changes my practice to reflect my improvements, new issues, etc. My job is to do the practice every day at home.

That's what I really like about KHYF yoga: it puts my health in my own hands. And it makes me feel better every time I do it. It has made a huge positive impact on my health.

KHYF yoga doesn't include the more well-known poses aimed at developing strength and balance (those apparently were developed to prepare 18-year old boys for meditating for long hours each day). I can do all of the exercises in my current practice (because every summer is hard on me) lying in my bed. It's mostly controlled breathing and simple movements of my fingers. My other practices have involved all kinds of sitting and standing exercises.

As Anita and I got to know each other, I came clean about my research interests on topics that most people find weird --- mediumship, telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and psychokinesis. Anita didn't find my interests weird at all because what we think of as psychic abilities are called siddhis in the Hindu yoga tradition and are a natural result of the yoga practice.  She 'warned' me that I should expect the development of such abilities as I went along.   

She was right. On to the sharks.

A couple months ago I woke up several days in a row thinking about a friend of mine from college. They were just memories of places we'd been and things we'd done. (Full disclosure: he was more than a friend; I dated Keith for two years.) This hypnopompic state of waking up is notoriously conducive to receiving non-local information, but I didn't think anything of it even when throughout the day I kept being reminded of him.

I hadn't talked to Keith in years and didn't even know where he was living.  When his popping into my head finally reached some sort of threshold, I called his parents and got his phone number.  When I called him, Keith was understandably surprised to hear from me but I got right to the point:

"You've been showing up in my dreams a lot lately," I told him because I didn't want to explain about hypnopompic information transfer. "So I’m just calling to see if you're alright and if you need anything."

"Are you serious!?!" he said. "Right now, I'm on my way to swim with great white sharks."

As you yourself might, I asked him what the hell he was thinking and he said he was hoping to face his fear of water.  Though I thought that starting in a bathtub or a swimming pool might be a more logical first step than water that contained man-eating predators, I held my tongue because it was none of my business.   

Keith was very concerned about what my call might mean for his survival so I explained about hypnopompic states and the theory that we all have access to all information all the time but only the important stuff bubbles up to the surface of our consciousness (much like the severed limb of someone swimming with sharks --- no, I didn't actually say that).

I said, "Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is probably as scared as you've been in ten years."  He thought that was a fair assessment.  "So all this means is that your distress was strong enough for me to become aware of it." I didn't have any sense that he was in danger.

Keith did indeed survive according to an airport butt-dial and subsequent voicemail. And I potentially had a real-world experience of yoga siddhis. 

If you are interested in learning more about yoga siddhis, check out Dean Radin's new book, Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the Evidence for Extraordinary Psychic Abilities, which was released today.

Now I need to go do my yoga practice for the day.  Be well!